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Georgi Karakhanyan – Hiroyuki Takaya, Phil Baroni – Hayato Sakurai, and Will Brooks – Satoru Kitaoka Added to Dream 18

A trio of bouts has been added to DREAM’s big New Year’s Eve return at the Saitama Super Arena as previously mentioned participants Hiroyuki Takaya, Hayato Sakurai, and Satoru Kitaoka have seen their opponents officially named.

Georgi Karakhanyan (19-3-1) will square off with Hiroyuki Takaya (17-9-1). The Bellator veteran is undefeated since 2011 loss to Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, with a recent five-win run culminating in a victory over WEC and TUF veteran Micah Miller in September. Takaya, the former DREAM Featherweight Champion, has remained inactive since last New Year’s Eve, where he defeated perennial featherweight Takeshi “Lion” Inoue in his second successful defense.

A previously reported welterweight tilt featuring longtime veterans Phil Baroni (15-15) and Hayato Sakurai (36-12-2) has also been confirmed. 

Lastly, undefeated prospect Will Brooks (7-0) will step up to face former Sengoku champion Satoru Kitaoka (30-11-9). Brooks is undefeated on the regional  circuit, having stopped six of his seven opponents. Meanwhile, Kitaoka most recently defeated fellow standout countryman Katsunori Kikuno at DEEP 58 Impact in June.

DREAM 18 takes place New Year’s Eve at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan. The event will feature a mixed card of MMA and a 16-man heavyweight kickboxing tournament in a co-promotion with Glory World Series and ONE FC.


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